(Huffington Post) A group of civilly-disobedient hemp farmers and business leaders were arrested Tuesday morning while digging up the lawn to plant industrial hemp seeds at the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
David Bronner, the president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a more than 60-year-old company that does tens of millions of dollars of business annually, was among those arrested.
Bronner buys the hemp used in his soaps from Canadian farmers. He was arrested outside the DEA museum, which shares space with the headquarters.
“Our kids are going to come to this museum and say, ‘My God. Your generation was crazy. What the hell is wrong with you people?'” he said as Arlington County Police handcuffed him and walked him to a waiting car.
Wayne Hauge and Will Allen, farmers from North Dakota and Vermont respectively, brought shovels and seeds to the protest, where they were joined by representatives of Vote Hemp, which advocates for federal legislation that would allow states to craft their own hemp policies.
Currently [eight nine] states — Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, [Oregon,] Vermont, and West Virginia — allow industrial hemp production or research, but federal law, which requires nearly-impossible-to-obtain-permits to grow hemp, trumps those state laws. A bill introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) would allow states to craft their own policies.
Of all the insanities in the War on (Certain American Citizens Using Non-Pharmaceutical, Non-Alcoholic, Tobacco-Free) Drugs, the ban on industrial hemp is the looniest. We have the Drug Enforcement Administration enforcing a ban on something that is not a drug! They’ll tell you that by strict interpretation of the law, hemp does contain THC, so it has to be banned, even though the THC contained in hemp is so minute that you could literally burn a field of the stuff and not catch the slightest of buzzes.
They’ll tell you that if hemp were legal, growers of illicit high-THC pot would hide their crops in-between the rows of hemp. Any farmer can tell you that what you’d get is cross-pollination; the hemp would ruin the high of the pot and the pot would ruin the strength of the hemp.
Then they’ll tell you that if hemp were legal, law enforcement would be burdened trying to determine which fields were hemp and which were pot. This doesn’t seem to be a problem for the police in China, Australia, Canada, or most of Europe, however, as they seem to be able to tell the difference between a tall, reedy hemp plant and a short bushy pot plant without much difficulty. Maybe our American cops are just too stupid to handle basic botany.
The ban on hemp remains for two reasons. One is to protect the entrenched business interests that would stand to lose market share to legal hemp crops. Hemp can produce anything you can make from a tree or a barrel of oil, and do it cheaper, make it better, and cause less environmental damage along the way. Hemp paper resists oxidation far better than wood paper. Hemp pressboards are as strong as steel and save our forests. Hemp seed oil has the highest energy value of any seed oil crop – all current diesel engines can run on hempseed oil with no modifications required. Hemp seed is one of nature’s highest protein foods and a source of important anti-oxidants. Hemp cloth is impervious to mildew, repels water, and holds heat better, and requires no pesticides. Can you begin to imagine all the companies that would lose money if forced to compete fairly with hemp?
And the second reason is psychological. If hemp is legal, cannabis is just a plant. It’s a subtle thing, but under the current framework, the government can tell us cannabis is an evil drug. But if hemp is legal, then sometimes cannabis is an evil drug and sometimes it is just a plant. Once cannabis is sometimes just a plant, it is harder to scare people into thinking it can be evil.
We are approaching the 400th anniversary of the first colonial hemp plantations in North America. Hemp is our American heritage – this country exists because of hemp and our entire history is infused with its cultivation and use. The forces that combined to ban hemp in the 20th Century have stolen our very birthright and declared nature itself to be illegal.